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Alabama Special Senate Election Transcript 12/12/17 The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell

Guests: Howell Raines, Steve Kornacki, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Eugene Robinson

Show: THE LAST WORD WITH LAWRENCE O'DONNELL Date: December 12, 2017 Guest: Howell Raines, Steve Kornacki, Joy Reid, Rachel Maddow, Eugene Robinson


And anyone who is wondering what the age of Trump has done to the Republican Party, the last time, the last time this Senate seat was up for election was just 2014, just three years ago. And the Republican won with 97 percent of the vote.

The Democrats could not get a candidate on the ballot. They couldn't talk anyone into running for Senate in Alabama. So, if you're wondering how far we have come, this is how far we have come.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC HOST, TRMS: Yes, and this is going to be -- I kept thinking about this today. That this is going to be really a titanic result for both parties regardless of who wins. It would be a huge freaking deal if Doug Jones wins. It would be a huge freaking deal if Roy Moore wins.

But even before we've got those final results, the fact that it is this tight, that it's still close to call with 72 percent of the vote in, that itself is a really big deal in terms of understanding American politics at this point in our lives.

O'DONNELL: And one more history point. This is how long it's been since we've had a Senate race this close in Alabama between the Democrat and Republican. 1986 was the last time it was this close. And I want to get the exact number.

The winner got 50.3 percent of the vote. The loser got 49.7 percent of the vote.


O'DONNELL: Now I'm massing this a little bit, because the winner who squeaked it out was Richard Shelby and he won as a Democrat.

MADDOW: That's right.

O'DONNELL: That's how he entered the Senate in 1986 was as a Democrat. Changed parties eight years later.

So, when they're this close historically, the Democrat wins. So, we will see.

MADDOW: Right, and the last time we had a major statewide race just won by a Democrat in Alabama, it was 11 years ago, 2006. It was the lieutenant governor's race where the Democrat who won beat Luther Strange who is the guy whose Senate seat was just vacated in order to make space for this special election tonight.

It is the -- it's one of those things that is super fun to cover. But also tonight super suspenseful.

O'DONNELL: Yes, we're making history as we sit here.


O'DONNELL: Thank you, Rachel.

MADDOW: Thanks, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Well, as Alabama continues to count votes, here is where things stand at this hour. The race is officially too close to call, with Roy Moore at 50 percent. Doug Jones at 48 percent, 77 percent of the vote is in.

We're going bring in NBC's Steve Kornacki. Steve, what are you watching?

STEVE KORNACKI, NBC NEWS NATIONAL POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, look, it's a 21,000-vote lead right now for Roy Moore. That's what Jones has to make up. So, if Jones is going to make it up, let me show you where he's got to get right now. A couple of places we're watching very closely. About 80 percent of the vote is in Madison County. This is Huntsville.

This is the second, the county with the second highest share of college degrees in the state. This is a place that Jones campaign targeted. They're probably going get some more of a margin out of there.

Here is the biggie, though, Birmingham, the largest county in the state. The single biggest vote-producing part of the state. Jones is cleaning up here. There is still a third of the vote to come in. He can get a lot more votes out of Jefferson County.

And the third place to be looking here, Mobile, only a third of the vote in. Again, Jones cleaning up here.

And also, we add a fourth one. About a quarter of the vote in Montgomery. So, four big places there on the map.

Again, if you're Jones, you're trying to make up 21,000 votes right now. Now, if you're Moore and you still want to pull this thing out, you've got scattered precincts in the rural parts of the state that are still coming in. So, we could get some vote there's.

But there is two biggies for Moore, the Republican right now. Number one is Shelby County. This is the suburbs outside Birmingham. This is the place here -- look, Donald Trump got 73 percent of the vote in this county in 2016. So, Moore is running well behind that. A lot of college degrees here.

It will still be a Moore win, but this is the problem for Moore right now. He is trying to hold off Jones, who has those big counties left where he is going to get a lot of big numbers. He needs a place like Shelby to come through big. It normally does for Republicans.

He is only getting 58 percent. This is a terrible number for a Republican in Shelby County. If this is what he is getting, that going to be enough to hold off Jones?

One other place on the map for Moore to look. It is Baldwin County to eastern shore. This is outside Mobile. OK. Again, about a quarter of the vote left here.

Moore wants to probably be at 65 percent or better, really north of 65 percent. Trump got 77 percent in this county last year. So, again, 63.

He is going to win it, he is going to get votes out of here. But with what Jones is going to get out of these other places, is that going to be enough?

Look, we'll see when the votes come in. I'll say this, though. We talked for weeks leading up to this about what it would take for a Democrat to win Alabama. Not just black support but heavy black turnout. We have evidence of very strong black turnout in the heavily black parts of the state.

Then, the question of, in those metro areas around the state, can you get the traditionally Republican voters to break away from the party? We are seeing that breakage occur across the state. So look, the basic ingredients are there. And, by the way, the margin now down to 13,000.

The basic ingredients are there. This is a narrow race. It's a question of is it going to be just enough or is it going to be just short for Democrats.

But again, this is sort of -- if they're ever going to win one, Lawrence, probably be in the next hour or two.

O'DONNELL: Steve, as I'm staring at your map, we're watching Jones closing the gap as you speak. And so, with what you're looking at there, who has more -- who has richer uncounted vote territories there as they await this vote count?

KORNACKI: Yes. I mean, look, again, there is basically three big areas here left. And I'm doing this to see if the numbers have changed while I'm up here. It's still a third in Mobile. You still got a third left.

And this is the biggest source of votes in the state. The one thing is this Jones percent of the vote might come down a little bit as the last precincts coming here, the final third come in. So, he may not win at the same clip here.

And again, let's see if anything more -- a few more came in here in Madison County. These are the biggest areas left. You know, there is a lot of Democratic turf here. I'm trying to avoid giving you an exact answer, because it really looks about even.

But, again, I'm struck by Moore running probably not where he wants to be. And if that holds, if he is only getting 58 percent in Shelby, again, I thought he probably needed about 62, 63 in a county like Shelby.

O'DONNELL: Steve, just yell over to us whenever you have something new to report.

KORNACKI: You got it.

O'DONNELL: We're going to come back to you.

Steve Kornacki, thank you very much. I really appreciate it.


O'DONNELL: We're joined now from Alabama, from Birmingham, Alabama, by Joyce Vance. She is a professor of law at the University of Alabama, former federal prosecutor in Alabama.

And here in New York, Joy Reid is with us.

Joyce Vance, being on the ground there in Alabama, what is your sense of where we stand tonight?

JOYCE VANCE, PROFESSOR, UNIVERSITY OF ALABAMA SCHOOL OF LAW: Well, this race is obviously still too close to call. But it looks like the Jones campaign is close to meeting its targets. Heavy turnout we're hearing in many of the urban areas.

In Birmingham, many of the boxes are coming in at 40 to 50 percent of the population went out and voted. That's compared to the secretary of state's estimate that only 25 percent of the population would vote. And that would be very good news for the Jones campaign if it holds up.

Also, it looks like he is performing ahead of schedule with white Republican voters, particularly women. That was another segment of the vote that he targeted. Still too early to call, but as these last few big outposts that are Democratic come in, we'll get a better idea of where we're headed.

O'DONNELL: Joy Reid, as I said to Rachel at the beginning of the show, the last time this seat was up for election was 2014. The Republican Jeff Sessions got 97 percent of the vote, and the Democrats couldn't find anyone to run against him.

So, in the age of Trump, the Republicans in Senate races in Alabama have lost 47 percent of the vote right off the top.

JOY REID, MSNBC HOST, A.M. JOY: You know, people forget that even in terms of statewide elections, Alabama did not become a solid Republican state until 2010. It took a long time for the sort of backlash from the civil rights movement to completely wash over the southern states. It's like Alabama until Obama came along, you still had people who at the local level would vote for Democrats.

There wasn't a complete aversion to voting for Democrats. You just had people to the point you made, Richard Shelby switch sides and Alabama has been voting Republican for president since '68, they went for Wallace. After that, they've been Republican.

So, it's a weird state. What's interesting, over the course of the night, what I've been hearing from people in Alabama has been concern over voter suppression, over people showing up at precincts in places like Montgomery County, having only one or two people there to check IDs and it being really overwhelming and long lines.

That said to me black turnout has to be really high. When black turnout is high, that's when you get more suppression activity.

MADDOW: And suppression, you mean registered voters showing up at the poll. They don't have the ID.

We're going to go back to Steve Kornacki, see what's new on the board.

Steve Kornacki, what do you have?

KORNACKI: Yes, well, actually, nothing new. We're still at 515-501, about a 14,000 vote gap. One here we're keeping a close eye, Jefferson County.

Again, this is the biggest source of votes outstanding, Mobile and Jefferson right now. To give you some sense, when Roy Moore was on the ballot in this state in 2012 and he nearly lost that race for chief justice, he got 37 percent of the vote in this county.

Again, right now, we're going to see where the precincts are exactly, I think the number is going to tick up a little bit. But again, if he is running below that level here in Jefferson, that means there is a lot more votes for Jones to get out of here. So, now, we're down to 13,000.

I'll go back to you. I'm going see where these came. The gap now stands at 13,000 votes statewide for Jones, Lawrence.

O'DONNELL: Wow. It is closing.

Joyce Vance, in your anecdotal experience talking to voters as you have been for the last few weeks in Alabama, have you been surprised by any of the reactions?

VANCE: It's a very interesting race. And I think one mistake that I often hear people making is viewing it in context of national politics. This is really very much a race that's based on trends in Alabama over the last couple of decades, many of the trends that Joy was talking about.

So, as I'm talking to people, I'm hearing a lot of very Alabama specific detail. Moore's voters like Moore. They're unlikely to stray.

Doug Jones' voters have been following his trajectory and movement in civil rights for many years. What's most interesting has been watching women talk to other women, Jones supporters talking to traditional Republican voters. And seeing these groups actually come together to some extent and make some progress in talking to each other and working through issues. If a positive trend comes out of this election, it will be that coming together.

O'DONNELL: And, Joy, Richard Shelby when he last ran, 2016 last year, he got 64 percent of the vote. The Democrat got 35.9 percent of the vote. You know, you think of Alabama as being just this impenetrable spot for Democrats. But if you would compare that to, say, New York, where Chuck Schumer got 70 percent of the vote.

REID: Right.

O'DONNELL: And New York is capable of electing Republicans statewide.

REID: I mean, it's a strange state. Because it has a very high percentage of African American voters, which is usually an indicator that Democrats should be able to win statewide. But the white vote is as polarized in the direction of Republicans as the black vote is polarized in the direction of Democrats.

And so, Barack Obama, even with super high turnout from African Americans, he only got like 10, 11 percent of the white vote in 2008, and then not much more of that in 2012. I think he did worse in 2012. So, it's a very impenetrable state because the vote is so racially polarized.

So, it's an interesting state. But, yes, I mean, up until these southern states used to be considered states you could win. Ronald Reagan went to Mississippi to win that. I think somebody sitting next to me talked about that on your show one time.

O'DONNELL: We're joined right now by Rachel Maddow who has made it down the hall.

Rachel, can you hold for a second?

We're going to go to Steve Kornacki and see at the board.

MADDOW: Please.

KORNACKI: Yes, Lawrence. Again, so more voters come in on both sides here. The gap still sits at 13,000. But I think if there is a significant development, we're talking about these big places left on the map where there is a lot of votes still out.

There's one that's pretty much all filled in now. Baldwin County. Again, it's outside Mobile. This is a traditionally very Republican county, almost all the votes in.

You see, this is significant, I think. Moore's margin here, is a little over 13,000. It will probably about 14,000 or 15,000 when all 100 percent are in here.

But a normal night, it was like Donald Trump level support for the Republican, the margin would be 28,000, about 28,000, 29,000, 30,000. You see it's basically half of that -- a little better than half of that margin for Moore tonight.

So, again, you can pretty much take Baldwin off the board. He is going to get 13,000 or 14,000 vote margin out of here, though. That's not what a Republican normally gets.

And again, we still got a lot here in Jefferson. Well still got Mobile. Only a third in Mobile is in. We've still got, you know, 15 percent to come out of Huntsville, Madison, that area there is still a lot of Democratic vote out there. I might add Montgomery County.

Look at this. We've got a lot left there. Look, that enough for the Republican out of that big Republican county? It looks like it's pretty much off the board now.

O'DONNELL: Steve, it's never been more exciting watching one of your boards. And Rachel -- and Steve, stay in the discussion with us here.

Rachel, your reaction to what you're watching there on Steve's board.

MADDOW: Well, just that very specific data we're just getting from him. Baldwin County, whether you know anything about Baldwin County, there is one thing to know about it for Roy Moore. When he barely won that seat on the Supreme Court in 2012 against Bob Vance, he got 65 percent of the vote in Baldwin County.

He is now getting 61 percent of the vote in Baldwin County. And that is the sort of thing that might be rounding error in a typical election.


MADDOW: Just like those 18,000 votes for some random write-in might be a rounding error in a regular election. But if it's going to be this close, that's absolutely what could be the difference.

O'DONNELL: Steve, that's what you've been looking for all night. The spots where Roy Moore is underperforming?

KORNACKI: Yes. And there is two types of underperforming I think here. If you're Roy Moore, one is if you're just not running at the level of Republicans.

I'll give you a classic example of that. I think one of the worst counties we've seen -- there is two I'll give you. Collegiate theme here.

Number one, sorry, it's supposed to be -- there we go. Lee County. This is the home of Auburn University. Donald Trump got 59 percent here. Roy Moore almost lost five years for chief justice, he still won this county. He got 53 percent of the vote.

Tonight, he only got 41 percent of the vote. So, again, that theme the Jones campaign of trying to get traditionally Republican college-educated voters, this is the kind of place they were looking for. Moore goes 12 points under what he got when he nearly lost a few years ago.

Another place, look across the state, big rivalry in college. Tuscaloosa, University of Alabama. Again, Roy Moore, when he ran and almost lost five years ago, 48 percent in this county. Only coming in with 41 percent tonight. We still have some vote left. But it looks like he is going to be south of what he got in that near miss five years ago.

So, he is underperforming there. Those are the kinds of counties Jones is looking for. But the second kind of underperforming, talked about this a lot with Rachel. We're looking at rural areas up here with largely white populations, rural areas down here, largely white populations.

You go into these individual counties and Moore's percentage is huge. You say great night for Roy Moore. Problem for Roy Moore is the turnout here not nearly as impressive as the turnout we're seeing in this part of the state, the heavily black counties, heavily Democratic counties. So, again, that's another kind of underperforming, if your base doesn't have the kind of energy that your opponent's base has.

So there are two sorts of underperforming, I think, if you're looking at this. I'm just killing time to see if we've got an update. We do.

Jones has pulled within 3,000 votes.

O'DONNELL: Oh, boy.

KORNACKI: We'll see if we can see. He's still got more than a quarter of the vote out in Birmingham and the suburbs. And Jones is within 3,000 right now. That's very significant.

You still got more than half the vote to come in out of Mobile where Jones is lead is over 10,000 votes right now, still half the vote to come in. He is within 3,000 statewide.

Take a look up here in Madison, you still have 15 percent to come in. He's got a 17-point lead right now. He is going to get more votes out of here. More votes out of here. More margin out of here, and he is within 3,000 statewide.

And one more I want to check, this is the big one left for Roy Moore. You got a third of the vote left in Shelby County. You're right outside Birmingham. You're in the suburbs.

Donald Trump got 73 percent of the vote here in 2016. If Roy Moore was getting 73 percent of the vote, what did I press here? If Roy Moore was getting 73 percent of the vote in Shelby county and you told me 37 percent of Shelby county still to come in, I would say Roy Moore is going to get a lot of votes here.

If you tell me Roy Moore is only getting 58 percent in Shelby County and you still got 37 percent to come in and you tell me Jones has all the areas left, I don't know if that's going to be enough for Roy Moore.

O'DONNELL: Rachel, that tells us a lot of Donald Trump voters in Alabama do not do what Donald Trump asks them to do when it comes to a Senate race like this.

MADDOW: That's true. You know, and Alabama voters are their own thing. And they've had their own opinions about Roy Moore all this time. Roy Moore was thrown off the state Supreme Court not once, but twice, which means that voters put him back on after he was thrown off the first time.

But I am struck. I'm really happy that Steve putting it in this frame. For me at least, it makes it crystal clear that Alabama voters turned against Roy Moore from the last time he had to run. I mean, in Jefferson County right now, we've got 72 percent in. That's the most populous county in the state. More votes come out of that county than anywhere else.

When he ran in 2012, he was getting 37 percent of the vote there. Now, he is at 22 percent of the vote there, and that's -- we don't visit all in. Something will change.

But to be dramatically underperforming his own performance from five years ago shows you that the allegations did make a difference. And maybe the national climate made a difference. And maybe the president made a difference.

But Alabama does not feel the same way they did about Roy Moore the last time they had a chance to say.

O'DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, we're coming back to you at the board. What do you have there now?

KORNACKI: It's a small votes that came in. But Jones has moved within 1,400 votes.

O'DONNELL: Wow, that's a high school, 1,400 votes.

KORNACKI: When it gets this close -- Jones has taken the lead.

O'DONNELL: There we are.

KORNACKI: The margin now is 817 votes.

So, to reset with 87 percent of the vote counted statewide, the Democrat, Doug Jones has now taken the lead. I can guarantee you this is the latest into the night a Democrat has led a race for the United States Senate in Alabama since 1986 when you had that razor thin -- excuse me, since 1992, the last time a Democrat won a Senate race there.

So, Jones has the lead right now. But, again, what becomes more significant is what is still outstanding, more than half of Mobile County. This is a place that Roy Moore couldn't even win when he ran for chief justice five years ago. That is still outstanding.

Look at this, 28 percent here in Jefferson County, where Jones is cleaning up. Still outstanding. Madison County, Huntsville area, we still have over 10 percent of the vote still outstanding.

You have scattered rural precincts around the state that are still coming in for Moore at 70 percent, 80 percent clip. So, he is still going to get votes.

But again, the biggest single concentration I think that is left here for Moore is Shelby County is these suburbs. He is getting a 6,000 vote margin out of here. He's got a third of the precinct still outstanding. He will add to that.

But think about that. If he is only getting 58 percent, and there is only a third left here roughly, what kind of margin is that going to produce when you're looking? Look, if you're Jones and you're looking at this map, you're pretty happy right now.

O'DONNELL: Steve, we're cancelling your coffee break. We're going to have to keep the camera on you and the board. And if you want to make a private comment here and there, let us know. We're going to be coming back to you. And feel free to overrule anyone on the panel and jump in when you have to.

Joy, I just want to go to something, Howell Raines, who was here last night, who's from Alabama, was the executive editor of "The New York Times". He talked about his own travels in Alabama recently and how he would go into places where there wasn't a single Roy Moore lawn sign, and there should have been.

REID: Yes. And that was a fascinating conversation. As you're talking, I'm getting texts that are saying Mobile and Jefferson, that Steve is talking, are not in.

And, you know, the reality is, that's a long time political, a white gentleman who has been in politics a long time. Look, the reality is Roy Moore is not that popular. He has a base that is rabidly his and really love him. He wins by very low margins when he wins.

And he tends to have won in low turnout off-year elections. So, special elections and even if he pulls it out tonight, he is not a lock for 2020 because he is not as popular as sort of the rest of the national community looks at him and thinks that he is. So, he's got a problem in his base in his sort of his popularity.

And then the other thing there has been a suppressive effect, a sort of demoralization among his base that maybe he is not getting the enthusiasm where the other side is very fired up.

And I think the third thing I would throw in, think of the Trump voter in a similar way you think of the Obama voter. What I mean by that, there are some voters who really vote for that presidential candidate and that presidential candidate can compel them when they themselves are on the ballot. But when they're not on the ballot, you're not necessarily going get that marginal voter who came out for Trump in 2016 to come back because he told them to.

O'DONNELL: OK, we're going to go back to Steve every time one of us finishes a paragraph.


Just to see.

Steve, what are the latest numbers there?

KORNACKI: Yes. And, look, again, Jones' lead right now, the quick map here, it's about 577 right now, another place. I forgot to include this. Montgomery, we still have outstanding vote here. Again, Jones is cleaning up.

So, look, the places where you got significant outstanding vote -- OK, now we got more. Let me see if this affected -- there you go. Jones now has taken a 5,400 vote lead statewide.

We've been talking about it. When are we going to get another dump from mobile? We just did. You can see now Jones still steadily leading. We've got 57 percent in.

And that's what's going to happen. Every time we get a jolt of data, and there is still going to be a few left in Mobile County in place like this, it is going to add big-time to Jones' total. So, at the start of this hit, I think it was about a 500 vote lead. It is more than a 5,000 vote lead.

And again, that will continue. There is a lot of vote left in Mobile. Take a look in Jefferson County here, there is a lot of vote left in Jefferson County.

There is not a lot, but still some vote left in Madison County. Looks like there is still vote left in Montgomery. Every time you get more votes from these places that Jones statewide total, look at that, it is up to 11,000 statewide. That Mobile sending more in?

We've got a little bit more in Mobile. Let's see if we got more in Birmingham. Find out where the rest of it came from.

But, look, that pattern is going to continue I think for the next few minutes now. Jones is opening up a lead in this thing. And I'm just -- I'm looking at this, and I am not seeing where Roy Moore can get the -- I mean, again, this is what I keep coming back.

I'm broken record with Shelby County. He's got to generate. This is his single biggest source of potential Republican votes left on the map here. It's a 6,000-vote lead.

First of all, it should be Moore right now, if you're a normal Republican. You should be up more than 6,000 votes. You know, it's only 37 percent left. How are you going to overcome, seeing if we had Moore there. You can't.

You're going to keep getting this. It's up to 11,000 votes right now. And I'll tell you, I'll shout to you every time we get more in. I think that number is going to keep going up right now.

O'DONNELL: All right. We're going to keep watching it. We're going to Fairhope, Alabama. We're going to be joined by Howell Raines, the former executive editor of "The New York Times." Howell Raines joined us last night.

Howell, which county are you in tonight?

HOWELL RAINES, FORMER EXECUTIVE EDITOR, THE NEW YORK TIMES: I'm in Baldwin County where as Steve Kornacki just said, Doug Jones is running I think getting what he needs to get. I must say that listening to Steve Kornacki talk about this race through my earphone is like listening to Eli call a Crimson Tide football game.


RAINES: It is a very exciting race. And I think it's potentially a historic one. This will be a watershed for Alabama. And I think what we're seeing, the pattern that we're seeing, not just the urban vote for Doug Jones, but the slippage for Roy Moore in the rural parts of the state -- I mean, it is tremendously significant.

I think Steve was right to emphasize Doug Jones carrying Auburn University, which is a conservative school lodged in a very conservative county. Hillary Clinton only got 36 percent of the vote there. And Jones is rung away with it.

And what I would like to add is this I think has real implications for the national political scene and for Donald Trump's Washington, because what this election tells me is with a vigorous, centrist candidate, you can start to shrink Trump's famous base, because that's what's happening here. This is one of the strongest Trump bases in the country. And it's being fractured before our eyes.

O'DONNELL: Howell, we've got to go right back to Steve Kornacki because there are still developments on the board.

Steve, what do you have now?

KORNACKI: Yes, let's give you the statewide count. Still sits at 11,000. I've just been looking. We said, where else could Moore get votes? He is now behind. He has to manufacture vote.

His campaign talked about the Wire Grass Region. This is going to be the heart and soul of Roy Moore's victory. Looking down in this part of the state, every single red county in the area I just circled here, if you can call that a circle has 100 percent of the precincts reporting. He is not getting any more votes out of there. He is cleaning up right there.

I mean, look at these. Go to the northern part of the state, if this board will let me. Go to the northern, 100 percent is in.

You know, 100 percent is in. These are Moore counties here, 100 percent is in. He is not getting more votes out of here.

And meanwhile go, to the gigantic population centers. Take a look in Mobile, there is a lot more votes coming out of Mobile. There are a lot more votes coming out of Jefferson. So, again, I'm sitting here. I'm trying to give you some kind of Moore scenario. I can't come up with one because I think this Jones margin sitting at 11,000 is going to continue to go up.

Again, Shelby is the only place I can look at. It's the same story. We don't have new vote in. But it's just not an impressive margin for Moore there. I mean, it's -- he did not -- we are not seeing -- it's the suburban voters, the traditional Republican suburban voters and those college towns. I think the college towns are a key point in this, Auburn, Tuscaloosa.

They're just not enthusiastic here for Moore. He is not getting the levels of support. He is not getting the turnout -- turnout through the roof comparatively in the heavily black areas.

Here we go, now up to a 12,000-vote margin statewide for Jones. So, again, he continues to lead with a lot of outstanding votes. That was a little more in Mobile that just came in. That's where that margin. Basically up to a 12,000 vote advantage, though.

O'DONNELL: Rachel, Howell Raines told us to expect a vote like this that would defy the stereotype about Alabama that Roy Moore personifies.

MADDOW: And it's been interesting to watch over the course of this week. Alabama Democrats, Alabama, never Trump Republicans, people who are not just writing about the state and covering the state as outsiders, but people who are from there, have been articulating, saying, I know you guys out there in the national media don't believe me --


MADDOW: But I believe, and I don't think I'm just hoping and wishing. I believe that this is actually going to be a Doug Jones race.

And we heard that from a lot of Alabamians actually who felt that there was at least the case that was made to me is that it was hard to make an empirical case for it. It's hard to prove it. You can't say that yard signs tell you how elections go.

But there was something going on in the state that people who were Alabama natives could see coming here. I think the national media actually was humble enough to not make too many predictions here. But this is going very, very late in the night.

It's interesting, too. When it's this close and when it's this late in the night that we're deciding, something like those write-in votes could be very important.

Richard Shelby, the senior senator from Alabama didn't say vote for Doug Jones. He said write in somebody else. And if we got 20,000 write-in votes, that may matter.

O'DONNELL: That could be it.

Howell Raines, I'm thinking of that married couple that you mentioned in your op-ed piece the other day. I think the bishops are your name. Your grandfather presided at their wedding 72 years ago, and the husband said to you that he was going to try to sway his wife to vote for Doug Moore. And his wife said to you very emphatically, no, he is not.

Is that the story?

RAINES: I think it is the story. And I'm glad you brought up Winston County. Winston County is the most independent thinking county in the state. And I think the pattern that we detect statewide of women standing up and figuring out this race in a way that perhaps more quickly certainly than the Moore people did is significant.

And I wanted to also note that Winston County went 90 percent for Trump. And the last figure I heard was that he -- Moore was only getting in the low 80s there, which that's a small amount. But that slippage is what is killing him right now.

O'DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, you've gotten the best review you could possibly get. Howell Raines says you're calling this just right on an Alabama election. What's the latest?

STEVE KORNACKI, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, I mean, let's take the statewide. So again, we're sitting at about 11,500. If we have to get really granular, because I think we do there just isn't much left. Basically, every red county you see on the map right now except for one is 100 percent in. So this is the one place -- there is two actually.

There is one that has a few left. This is the one place where there is significant, the one red county right now where there is significant vote outstanding. That's Shelby County. We've been talking about it. Moore is going to win it.

He's going to get more of a margin out of this. But it is not anywhere near the margin Republicans normally get. This was a 73 percent Donald Trump county. He's winning at a 58 percent clip right now. That is a disastrous number for him. There are a few precincts left here in Baldwin County.

I think that's where Howell Raines said he was if heard right. But there is not much left here there might be another thousand votes if he is lucky that comes Roy Moore's way in Baldwin County. So the only other hope I think he has right now, when you look at these, OK we have a few more in now. It's about a 13,000 vote lead.

It's inched up a little bit more. Let's see if we can see where that came in. I think Mobile here. Was it in Jefferson County? It was not in Jefferson County. Was it in Madison County? It looks a little more Madison County came in. So you see, again Jones winning this at a healthy clip.

A few more votes come in. The statewide inches up an 2,000 votes. Almost done now in Madison County. I think the one thing I would say when you look at Jefferson County, if you're Moore, is look. There is a city there, Birmingham. And then there are suburbs.

So, again, Roy Moore got 37 percent of the vote total in this county in 2012. He is running obviously well behind that. The hope for Moore would be that the city of Birmingham is all in in some of those Republican suburbs account for the lion's share of the outstanding vote. And maybe he can win those suburbs, bring his countywide total up a little bit. You know could somehow make up a margin there.

But again, the suburbs of Jefferson County are exactly the suburbs that the Jones campaign has been targeting. You're talking about voters here with college degrees. suburbanites, professional class. These are the folks we've been seeing across the state who are moving away from Moore.

So to make up a margin, let's see if we can go out statewide. Make up 13,000 votes with what Jones still has coming in Mobile, what Jones probably a little bit that he still has here. And we can check Montgomery County. See if we can get a little bit more.

You know it's tough to see. It really would be a combination of Shelby County and some suburban precincts in Jefferson County. That's the math that Moore would need right now to come from behind. But wow, I think it's safe to say in modern times, he finds himself in uncharted territory right now for an Alabama Republican.

O'DONNELL: Thanks, Steve. The reason we've been splitting the screen with Jones headquarters there, which we can go back to now, you'll see there has been a lot of cheering there because as I think Joy Reid knows because she has been checking her phone, some news organizations have already called this race for Doug Jones. NBC News is not ready to do that. And Joy, there seems to be a lesson in here somewhere for the Democrats on how to turn out the black vote which turned out in a higher rate than for Barack Obama running in Alabama.

JOY REID, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Yeah, absolutely. And early on in the Doug Jones campaign, there was some criticism that his message to African American voters was too simplistic. It was just about the four little girl's prosecution. It wasn't broad enough. But I think that message actually fired up the Jones Campaign. It's up to diversify that message.

They brought in Cory Booker, Barack Obama. There was a real get out the vote effort. You have to remember, these southern states have the highest black populations in the country. So in theory, if they have a higher percentage of black voters that than Michigan, they should be able to do what Michigan can do and elect someone statewide or Ohio.

You know 26 percent of the population of Alabama is African American. If you can get them registered and turn out and protect their votes. I was hearing all night people talking about voter suppression. What that said to me, that turnout has to be really high. I heard about 90 minute and two- hour waits at the polls.

That means African Americans are showing up. You get your vote suppressed when you show up. And so that black vote that you see across these map really mattered tonight. And I think so did a bit of demoralization on the part of rural White Republicans who just didn't have their hearts in it for Roy Moore.

RACHEL MADDOW, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: You know it should it also be noted that the Doug Jones campaign is a Deep South Democratic campaign that spare nod expense and had no holds barred. They outspent the Roy Moore campaign on TV 6-1. They get out the vote operation they built they said was the biggest get out the vote operation ever in the history of Alabama politics.

O'DONNELL: Built from zero.

MADDOW: Built from zero. And you saw in a state that by definition has to have a weak Democratic party, you also saw out of state Superpac money come in that was Democratic supportive and Democrats saw that Roy Moore -- with Roy Moore as an opponent, there is Charles Barkley. They saw this as a place that they could try to compete, even though this is a state that starts with A and ends with Labama.

If they pulled it off tonight, this will be a huge shot in the arm for the Democratic notion that Democrats can compete anywhere in the right circumstance.

REID: And you know (Reggie) something very important, which is built from scratch. Because remember Doug Jones had to actually build that GOT, the operation himself.

MADDOW: Good point.

REID: Defunct. It's pretty amazing.

MADDOW: You hear this from southern -- you hear this from southern democrats, particularly southern black demonstrates which a, we are A big population. and B, we can get close even with no resources. If you give us a lot of resources and some national momentum, you'll be surprised what we can do.

O'DONNELL: I want to go back to steve at the board.

RAINES: Can I jump in with -

O'DONNELL: Go ahead Howell. Go ahead quickly.

RAINES: I want to jump in with a little inside baseball. I've known Joe Trippe since he was the boy wonder of the Mondale campaign in 1984. And the ads he put up for Doug Jones throughout this campaign I think had been the most sophisticated we've seen down here. I think they've been very effective.

O'DONNELL: And Howell, tell us about that white rural voter that Joy Reid was talking about a minute ago. What went through -

RAINES: I'm sorry. I lost you.

O'DONNELL: Howell Raines? I don't know if you can still hear - all right, we're going to go to Steve Kornacki who is still at the board. Steve, when we leave you for a minute, the numbers change. We've got to know. Where are we?

KORNACKI: Yes, did say so now Moore is within 10,000 votes here. It looks about 9.200. So what happened what I was describing, you know, the Moore Campaign, I guess if there's a Hail Mary here, it exists in the suburbs. And we just got -- let's see what this did to the statewide total because I can see we got more.

OK, again, it still sits 9,200. What we're getting here are the remaining precincts of Jefferson County. Remember, for the first however long we've been on the air this hour, about a half an hour, I don't have a watch so I can't tell. this was down at about 73 percent. So you can see it's ticked up to 85 percent.

We've got almost after half of the outstanding vote since we've been on the air this hour coming in out of Jefferson County. And you see what it is, suburban precincts, traditionally Republican suburban precincts where Moore has been doing well enough to eat a little bit, a little bit into the Jones lead. But, again, Shelby County, he is going to get a few thundershowers more here. It looks like he is going to make maybe a little progress in the outstanding counties here in Jefferson. But when you're down, and there it is. Look at this.

Now it's back to 11,000 statewide. It's an 11,000 vote total. So again, that's what's going to happen. That's what going to keep up - now let's see what just came in. I think it might have been - here it is. This is what just happened.

So I'll tell you what happened. It's a lot of gibberish here I realized. While I was speaking, basically almost the final precincts came in here in Madison County, Huntsville. And what is we've been seeing Jones win this county in a landslide. So Jones plurality statewide increases.

So all the progress that Moore made in the last ten minutes was washed away by what happened with the precincts that came in Madison County. Jones is back ahead now by 11,000 statewide. We can basically take Madison off the board meaning that all that is left in the state right now are the suburban counties probably in Jefferson County.

Moore may be hoping to make a little progress there. He does have the suburban counties here in Shelby. But look at this. You've still got all this vote left in Montgomery. In Montgomery, this is a Democratic stronghold. And then you go down here to mobile. and again, you still have almost a third of the vote left right there. And that is with Jones having a lead of 11,000 right now. This looks like Democratic math.

O'DONNELL: And Mitch McConnell is speaking tonight, not under his own name, but through the Leadership Pacs and funds that he controls. The Senate Leadership Fund, which is devoted to electing Republicans to the Senate has already given this race to Jones. And they are saying not only did Steve Bannon cost us a critical Senate Seat in one of the most Republican States in the country, but he also dragged the President of the United States into his fiasco.

The Republican Senate Campaign Committee has issued a statement saying tonight the results are clear. The people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate. I hope Senator-Elect Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority. So the Senate Republicans -

MADDOWS: Wait, wait. Doug Jones vote with the Republicans?

O'DONNELL: The Senate Republicans, Rachel, are welcoming their new colleague Democrat Doug Jones

MADDOWS: Who they expect to vote as a Republican.

O'DONNELL: Yes. they're kind of hoping.

MADDOWS: I was going to say, that's clever. You know Cory Gardner is head of the Senate Campaign Committee. Does Cory Gardner get blamed by the Bannon part of the Republican Party and the right for having withheld support for Roy Moore, even after the RNC jumped back in and Steve Bannon went down there and did his act?

O'DONNELL: Well, Mitch McConnell made sure that Steve Bannon's name was in that first press release that went out from the fund that he is also controlling. And, joy, this is a devastating night. As it stands at this moment, anyway, for Steve Bannon and Donald Trump.

REID: I have two texts from Republican friends. Steve Bannon is in both of them. The long knives will be out for Steve Bannon. He specializes Apparently in one thing, losing elections. Putting up people who cannot win, who draw democrats to be more excited to come out on the other side, and to be blustery in fighting the establishment.

He claimed he was going to defund Mitch McConnell and the establishment Republicans. He has gone down in ignominious defeat tonight. He can be only - he can be nothing but embarrassed. He is not going to have an easy time blaming Cory Gardner. Most Americans don't know who Cory Gardner.

MADDOW: Well the way - I mean the thing about Steve Bannon is that Bannon has part of his political genius is that anything that goes against him is never his fault. It's always the fault of somebody who was scheming against him and must be destroyed. So he is the only person who termed getting fired from the Whitehouse into a promotion. Steve Bannon getting fired from the Whitehouse is everybody was talking about how powerful he would be running his website

O'DONNELL: Can we call it his political technique as opposed to his political genius.

MADDOW: And it's worked for him this far. He is still the center of conversation even when he blows it.

O'DONNELL: All right, let's get back to Steve Kornacki. If we've gone a minute without him we need to have the new numbers.

KORNACKI: So we got some new numbers here and again holding steady. 95 percent of the vote is in statewide. Again Jones continues to lead this thing by 13,000 votes. The story line remains the same where basically we can take Madison, Huntsville off the board now. That is what Joy -- if you said at the start of the day to the Jones campaign, what do you want? You're looking at it.

They got exactly what they wanted out of that county. You know again all that left I'm seeing if we got new vote. We got a little bit of Jefferson here. We still got those outstanding votes in Shelby. But again, look at this. You have half the vote in Montgomery. a Democratic bastion, there still vote.

You got all the votes to still come in, in Mobile. I understand why they're reading those. I understand we have not characterized it. But I can look at it and understand why they're reading those statements your reading.

O'DONNELL: Steve, as you look at the map, can you see anywhere Roy Moore can pull out the votes?

KORNACKI: Here's what I guess would be my best effort at putting that together. We have a third of the vote out in Shelby County. I'm not looking here at any individual precinct. This is a Republican County there is a suburban county. This is place Trump won 73 percent of the vote last year.

So maybe the third that is out is an extraordinarily Republican part of it, and Moore could get a good plurality out of that. Again, maybe if we're talking about suburban part here, Republican part of Jefferson County. Moore's number. You know again if Moore-- I can imagine Moore's number here getting into the low 30s maybe when 100 percent are in but to make up the kind of gap.

Look at this. See now we're up to almost 14,000 right now. I can see if that came in, we can see where that came in. it was not in Mobile I can tell you that. It was not in Jefferson. I'll track it down one of these times. It was not there.

This is a hunt for votes. This must be great television. Look, its Democratic areas that are basically out here. It's a Democratic candidate leading statewide by 14,000 votes right now. And it's a Republican who is not doing what Republicans are supposed to do in the suburban parts of the state.

So when I look at a suburban area that's left, this is the big one that's left. I'm not seeing Moore get the kinds of numbers that a republican would need to make up for what democrats might get in a place like Birmingham. So Jones is sitting on a lead here of almost 14,000 votes. And they're just -- there is not a lot of real estate left on that board.

O'DONNELL: Rachel, Mitch McConnell has vote counters on these kinds of senate races that are better than any of us. And they've decided that it's over. They've decided that Roy Moore has lost. It's at the point where Mitch McConnell's team is putting out press releases blaming Steve Bannon.

MADDOW: I was going to ask you, even before we got that statement if you thought that Mitch McConnell might have known something that none of us knew at the time when this afternoon he announced no matter who won tonight, they definitely wouldn't be sworn in this session. That's going to be put off until next year until after they can count on Luther Strange to vote for their tax bill and the spending bill and anything else they want. When he put out that announcement that whoever wins wasn't going to get sworn in, I wondered if McConnell had some sense that this was going down.

O'DONNELL: I saw your tweet about that and I jumped on that because oftentimes they are sworn in within a day or two sometimes of these elections. For the senate, it's all about getting certified results from a state. And Alabama can be relied on to drag its feet. on certifying this new Democratic Senator. Go ahead Steve Kornacki. We're back at you.

KORNACKI: Yeah. How many times have I been telling you waiting on a vote in Shelby County, the one Republicans basket. It finally came in. Here's what happened. A 110 percent in Shelby County. Roy Moore wins this with 56 percent of the vote. This is dreadful. Donald Trump got 72, 73 percent here last year.

Roy Moore was in the 60s when he nearly lost five years ago. He falls all the way down to 56 percent. His margin here is 9,000. The margin for a Republican in an election like this should be closer to 30,000. He lost basically 20,000 votes that a Republican should have. So look he final precincts came in there.

It does draw Moore a little closer. Remember the total was inching to 14,000 the last time I talked to you. That was enough to bring it down to 10,200. That's the good news for Moore. The bad news, that's the last Republican County that's left. All that's left on the map right now, again, we're waiting on a little bit there in Jefferson.

You got Democratic Mobile here where Jones is winning. You got Montgomery. You got Jones ahead. You Got Shelby off the board. That was -- you just asked me a minute ago. is there some kind of Hail Mary scenario? It involved massive numbers here. Moore's share of the vote in Shelby dropped since the last time I talked to you

O'DONNELL: And Doug Jones has just tweeted Thank you, Alabama. And so that is the first word of acceptance from Doug Jones tonight of what looks like his victory speech begins with a tweet tonight, thank you Alabama. Just to repeat NBC News has not yet called the race in Alabama. It is true that other news organizations have.

It is true that major political operations of Republican operations in Washington are already putting out press releases saying that Steve Bannon lost this race for the Republicans. And Rachel, we are sure close to getting a call on this.

MADDOW: Yeah. can I touch through that point, in terms of what Steve describing about the number that remains to come in. If you look at the numbers in the outstanding counties where we still got outstanding vote and we compare them to how Roy Moore did when he won a squeaker of the race for the Obama State Supreme Court five years ago in 2012. He is dramatically - - he is dramatically underperforming his own performance in that squeaker of a race in all of those counties where a vote remains.

From Jefferson County from 37 percent of the vote to 29 percent. Madison County has gone from 48 percent to 40 percent. Mobile he has gone from 47 percent to 42 percent. Montgomery he has gone down from 29 percent to 27 percent.

I mean, he is underperforming himself in a race he won very narrowly five years ago from a perspective where he needs to make up thousands of votes in order to get over the finish line. So mathematically, we should mention that our election folks who called these things are totally separate from our editorial. And we're not negotiating with them about this. But it's hard to understand mathematically where any vote might come in that could get Roy Moore in range.

O'DONNELL: And NBC News is now calling Doug Jones the apparent winner in this special senate election in Alabama. That's NBC's call at this hour. 13 minutes before 11:00, the apparent winner in Alabama. And Rachel, we can expect the congratulatory Presidential Tweet any moment.

MADDOW: Yes, I'm sure. And the peace be with you, and we're all Americans first and we look forward to reaching across party lines. It's going to be nice when I wake up. Yeah. W shall see I mean how the President reacts to this. Obviously this is a loss for the President because he came out so overtly for Roy Moore. It would have been a loss for the President had Roy Moore been on his way to Washington. a loss of a different kind.

O'DONNELL: Steve Kornacki, we now have an apparent winner.

KORNACKI: yes. I was wondering when this was going to happen. So there you go. Look, we were talking for a week or two in the run-up to this thing what the formula would be if a Democrat is actually going to win a Senate race in Alabama. And me just remind you what the keys were. number one, not only Doug Jones, the Democrat need to get the level of support that Barack Obama got from black voters and the exit poll tell us he got exactly that same level of support, 95 percent for Obama among black voters and 95 percent for Jones among black voters.

But more importantly, he needed to get that turnout. And we tracked this throughout the night. The heavily black counties that make up this part of the state in one county after another, we saw their turnout relative to last year's presidential election much higher than we saw in other parts of the state, white -- predominantly white rural counties of the state. So you had black voters who were not engaged in the 2016 campaign getting engaged in this race.

And meanwhile you had white voters that similar level of engagement in the rural areas wasn't happening. You got the black support for Jones. You got black turnout for Jones. You had a bit of depressed white turnout in some of these rural areas especially down here where Roy Moore's people, they were talking about this like a broken record. This was going to be their area in the state.

They got the numbers in terms of the percentages of the vote but not in terms of the turnout and then that alone was never going to be enough. The other question here was the suburban parts of the state. White college educated suburbanites we showed you. This was a big one.

I'll show you again, Lee County, I am still floored by the numbers I'm seeing here because Roy Moore even nearly losing statewide five years ago. He won this county with 53 percent. Look at that, he barely got 40 percent tonight. The same thing happened across the state in Tuscaloosa. Moore got close here last time out. Only 41 percent tonight.

These are college towns, University of Alabama and Auburn. So again you've got the defections from college educated voters, college educated suburbanites that the Democrats needed. And again it's just - it's a 10,000 votes right now. We've said look if there was a campaign that a Democrat would win Alabama, it would have to be this one, and the Democrat has indeed won Alabama.

O'DONNELL: We have another statement, this time from Chuck Schumer, from the Democratic Senate Leadership. And what's so striking is it pretty much borrows a line from the Republican Senator Leadership. It says, Roy Moore was an awful candidate and never should have gotten to the Senate. That was Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and Rachel, it mirrors what we've been getting out of press statements from the Republican Senate Leadership.

MADDOW: Yeah, it will be - it will be interesting to see where the blame falls in the Republican side. Ronna Romney McDaniel is the Chair of the National Republican Party. The National Republican withdraw its support from Roy Moore after the allegations of him being sexually abusive towards teenagers came out. And then something happened that made the RNC change its mind on that.

We know that her decision or RNC's decision to reinvest and get behind Roy Moore again followed Ronna Romney McDaniel being summoned to the Whitehouse for a meeting where presumably she was lobbied on this issue. She then has maid apparently remarks at a Republican Fundraiser where she explained the decision as saying it was made at the request of the Republican Congressional Delegation from Alabama, where upon the Senior Senator from Alabama, Richard Shelby, said oh, no, it wasn't.

He gave us a statement last night for my show that he had nothing to do with the RNC decision and they should not be characterizing it that way. The RNC will have to answer for why it made this decision and on whose advice they made this decision, who pulled the trigger here. And, you know, if they're not willing to admit why they did it or who did it, that would suggest they're not to proud of the decision.

O'DONNELL: It looks like Jones Family taking the stage there in Alabama. I want to go to Gene Robinson, Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the Washington Post and son of the south. Gene, what did you see happen here tonight?

EUGENE ROBINSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Well I saw -- there are three big losers tonight Lawrence. Of course Roy Moore, but the other two are Steve Bannon and Donald Trump. And I think that really should be the headline tonight. I mean how do you elect a Democrat for Senator in Alabama in 2017?

Well you get a Republicans to nominate a candidate who is accused an pedophile and even before he was accused pedophile was unpopular among many Republicans in the state, was a terrible candidate. And so thanks Steve Bannon for insisting on Roy Moore as the Republican standard bearer for this seat. Thanks, Donald Trump, for supporting him. They are really huge losers tonight. And it is a setback I think for Trumpism.

O'DONNELL: We're joined by Brian Williams, Brian, it's a historic night, confetti on a Democratic stage in Alabama.

BRIAN WILLIAMS, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: No one earlier today, shall we say, in the politics business, could have -- would have given you a good bet on this outcome tonight. As we've been watching the drama of Steve Kornacki, who was running out of red-based county numbers as it got down to it. Lawrence, it's been harrowing television to watch. And I concur with everything said thus far tonight.

I would just remind everybody of the context of today. Think about the President's travels via Twitter. Think about how it feels to be Kirstin Gillibrand of the state of New York tonight, all of it kind of coming together. This is going to be the period at the end of the sentence. A lot of people at Jones headquarters, as you can see, plainly evident, did not think they would be at the winning headquarters tonight.

O'DONNELL: Brian, I'm handing it over to you, as Doug Jones speaks. I'm sure we will be transition to go your hour, the 11th hour. But Brian this is a return actually to what use to be the norm in Alabama. There were two Democratic Senators from Alabama in Bill Clinton's first year as president.

WILLIAMS: I know you remember the figure Howell Heflin cut -


WILLIAMS: Cut in the U.S. Senate.

O'DONNELL: Oh yes.

WILLIAMS: And if you get a few years on you everything comes back again. And you remember when things looked like this. But this is new politics for a new era. I guess we can't draw any broader conclusions. We have to resist the immediate temptation to do that. But for the moment, as you mentioned, Democrats have won a crowning victory tonight in Alabama.

O'DONNELL: Joy Reid, we're going to find out what incumbency can do for a Democrat running for what would be reelection on a Senate race in Alabama.

REID: Yes, I had a Republican strategist friend who's from the south say to me, you know, whichever of these guys wins, he's going to have a tough time in 2020 when you have a fully robust turnout among the electorate because Roy Moore is not that popular and Doug Jones of course is a Democrat. But you know Doug Jones has a real opportunity here.

If he can deliver on the hope that you see on that screen tonight, where you have a coalition of young white voters, you got enough margin, particularly white women voters, he got in the 40s, which is what you need to get. Younger voters, collegiate voters, African-American voters, if he can deliver on that hope and deliver real, you know change and remain as sort of scrupulously moderate as he's been throughout this campaign.

I mean this guy is pro-choice. Think about that for a minute. This is an openly pro-choice Democrat who is taking a victory lap in Alabama. If he can deliver, I don't know, I wouldn't count him out in 2020.

O'DONNELL: Let's listen to the message he delivers to Alabama in his victory tonight.


DOUG JONES, UNITED STATES SENATOR-ELECT: Thank you. Thank you. Oh, my. Folks, I got to tell you, I think that I have been waiting all my life, and now I just don't what the hell to say.

If you will indulge me just a moment -- no, let's just get sworn in first. Folks, I'm overwhelmed. Let me first make a couple of kind of brief comments. You know, I have said throughout this campaign that I thought that December 12th was going to be a historic day. But I got to tell you, and you know where I'm headed, December 12th has always been an historic day for the Jones Family.

This is, as you know, mine and Louise's 25th wedding anniversary, my running mate, my partner. I could not -- I could not have done this without her, the love, support, the encouragement earlier in the evening when she kind of kicked me in the rear end when I was down. So this has been a wonderful night.

I've got to thank my family, I've got my wonderful sons, Carson, Christopher, my daughter Courtney and my beautiful granddaughters, son-in- law Rip. All these friends back here, U.S. Attorney buddies. My mom, who made it here, my dad who is here with us in spirit, who is too ill and unfortunately my sister Terry and her husband Scott, terry Savage and Scott Savage, hey, girls, Thank You, Thank You. She couldn't make it either.

But I am truly overwhelmed. I am truly, truly overwhelmed. But you know, folks, and you have all heard me say this at one point or another in this campaign. I have always believed that the people of Alabama had more in common than to divide us. We have -- we have shown not just around the State of Alabama, but we have shown the country the way that we can unified.

We have spent so many hours, I have got so many people that I can thank. But I will tell you just very quickly. There are three people that I want to acknowledge tonight because if it wasn't for them, we would not be here. They're the folks that sat me down in early May and said, Doug, you can do this. And they showed me the way.

And I want to make sure that everyone in this room, we had an incredible staff, it started with a small group of folks. Jess and Wade and Trey and Garrett but the three people I need to acknowledge before I go any further, I have the greatest political consultant in the world in Joe Trippe.

I know you're tired of seeing my ads. But they were all Joe's work. And he showed me the way. Doug Turner, we've been friends for so long, showed me the numbers. And then the one that I call the Yoda of the campaign, Giles Perkins. Giles has had his own issues to deal with over the summer.


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